CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMITTEE

 

ON

 

PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

 

 

 

REPORT

 

ON

 

 Union Territory of

 

CHANDIGARH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Distribution System in UT of Chandigarh

 

Index

 

S.No.

Particulars

Page No.

 

A.

Preface

 

1-5

B

Overview

i-viii

 

1.

Introduction

1-2

 

2.

Structure of Public Distribution System

3-6

 

3.

Issue of Ration Card

 

7-14

4.

Distribution of foodgrains

 

15-18

5.

 

Mode of Appointment of Dealers

19-23

6.

 

Viability of Fair price Shop

24-26

7.

 

Vigilance

27-33

8.

Computerization

34-40

9.

 Distribution of  fortified whole wheat atta

41-43

10.

Recommendations

44-49

 

 

 

 

 

PREFACE

 

 

In the matter of :

            Writ Petition(C) No.196/2001 – People’s Union for Civil Liberties V/S Union of India and Ors.

 

1.            Hon’ble Supreme Court of India by Order dated 12.7.2006 in the aforesaid Writ Petition constituted a Committee to be headed by me to look into the maladies affecting the proper functioning of the Public Distribution System (PDS) and to suggest remedial measures.

 

2.            Hon’ble Court’s direction was initially given for the Government of Delhi to be followed on an all India basis.

 

3.            Committee submitted report on Delhi on 21.8.2007.

 

4.            By order dated 10.1.2008, Hon’ble Court while accepting the report directed the Committee to do the similar exercise in terms of earlier for the entire country.

 

5.            Scope of the task assigned to the Committee thus having been enlarged, the Committee projected to the Department of Food & Public Distribution, additional requirements of staff, space and delegation of financial powers for its smooth functioning.  The Department dilly dallied and did not meet the requirements.  The Committee had to approach the Hon’ble Court again and again.  It was only after a peremptory Order dated 25.8.2008 was passed by the Hon’ble Court that the Department started taking steps for creating necessary infrastructure.  It was only thereafter that the Committee could start functioning in right earnest.  The Hon’ble Court has extended the time for the Committee to submit its reports.

 

6.            The Committee has already submitted its reports for the States of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Orissa, Karnataka, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana.  The tenure of the Committee has been extended till June 2010.  The Committee is now submitting the report on the UT of Chandigarh.

 

7.            The Committee has already submitted a separate comprehensive report on Computerisation of PDS.

 

8.            In general, no one has doubted the utility of PDS being the need for supply of food grains to the poor of the country at affordable rates.  Procurement and distribution of food grains is a huge and gigantic task but then the whole system is built on corruption.  There are more leakages and maladministration and benefits to the poor are low.  Inefficiency and corruption has made PDS corrupt at several levels.  The system lacks transparency, accountability, monitoring and enforcing.  Survey is not being conducted regularly and properly with the result people Above poverty Line (APL) have been issued Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards and those eligible for BPL cards have been ignored.  Bogus cards are in abundance.  Immediate measures are required to reduce the diversion of food grains.  Delivery systems under the PDS have to be improved so that the real beneficiary gets its due entitlement at fixed price, fixed quantity, fixed time and wholesome quality.  Innovative methods are required to improve the system.  The whole system has to be totally revamped and modern technology would appear to be the only answer.

 

9.            Committee has suggested that in order to combat corruption and for strengthening PDS there has to be zero tolerance approach.  Everything appears to be fine on paper but its implementation is faulty. 

 

10.       The Committee made two visits to Chandigarh  - First in   August  i.e. 18-20 August, 2008 and second on  18th December, 2009.  After its first visit the Committee prepared a draft report.  This was however kept as in the meanwhile Central Government agreed to provide funds to the State of Haryana and Chandigarh for issue of Smart Cards on a pilot basis, a Smart Card based system to deliver the foodgrains under the PDS.  The Committee, before submission of report, wanted to know the progress made in that connection.  During its second visit in December, 2009 the Committee found that smart card system has not come in operation though the process  for collecting data for  requisite details  is on .  It was stated that it may take 3 to 6 months more time for issue of smart cards to the beneficiaries. 

 

11.       During the discussions with the officers the Committee had suggested that ration cards be issued for a period of five years and not for one year as was hitherto being done by the Administration.  This suggestion appears to have been implemented and the ration cards are being issued for 5 years period.   Further, another suggestion the Committee gave was linking of Electronic Weighing Scale with PDS terminal. This also appears to have been agreed to   as the report of Ms. Jasleen Kaur, Senior Consultant, Price Water House Coopers would suggest.  During its second visit the Committee drew attention of the officers to the Constitution of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and its mandate to unique ID number to every resident of the country.  The assurance of uniqueness being promised by UIDAI will ensure that there are no duplicates and no fakes in the databases of UIDAI.  If the PDS authorities, in their domain, make the UID numbers of the ration card holders and their family members as mandatory, they can clear up their database of bogus ration cards.  Secondly, the UIDAI is also going to provide authentication facilities which will be available on ubiquitous devices such as mobile phones.  This could also be helpful in ensuring that the ration meant for the consumers is actually distributed to them.

 

12.       Chandigarh is small union territory of about 114 Sq. kilometers.  There are about 33 Fair price Shops and two Mobile vans for distribution of PDS food grains to ration card holders.  It was in May 2008 that Chandigarh Administration started issuance of computerized ration cards to its residents.  It is stated that till December 2009 21,951 computerized APL, 9798 BPL and 445 AAY cards have been issued.  As stated above the work for implementation of smart cards based PDS is in progress.

 

13.       The Committee suggested introduction of Fortified Atta for distribution to the beneficiaries instead of wheat under PDS. 

 

14.       In its first visit to Chandigarh, the members of the Committee  were  Mr. Dinesh Dayal, Ms Meenakshi Chauhan, and Anant Garg.  Mr. S.N. Singh, Section Officer assisted the Committee.. During its second visit the committee interacted with Brijender Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Prerna Puri, Jt. Director, Ms Jasleen Kaur, Senior Consultant, Price Water House Cooper, Vivek Verma, Technical Director, S.P. Manchanda, DSO and  Saahil Seni, Consultant PWC.  The Committee got full cooperation from the officials of the Chandigarh to complete its task. Mr. S.C. Rawal, a former Registrar of Delhi High Court and appointed as Secretary by the Chairman, has been performing functions of the Secretary of the Committee.  Dr. N.C. Saxena, however, could not offer any assistance to the Committee perhaps due to his other engagements.

 

15.       The sum and substance of the recommendations are given in chapter 10. 

 

 

 

 New Delhi

Dated 5th February 2010                                  (Justice D.P Wadhwa)

Chairman

Central Vigilance Committee

on Public Distribution System 
 

 

 

 

                    *******************

 

 

 

 

OVERVIEW

 

 

1.                 The detailed study on the various aspects of Public Distribution System in the Union Territory of Chandigarh has been done by the Committee which has been discussed in different chapters in the report.   The study is mainly concerned with the Structure of PDS, Mobile Vans, Procedure for Issue of Ration Cards, Storage and Transportation, Allocation and Off take, Appointment of Fair price shop Dealers, Vigilance and Computerization.

 

2.                 The report is based on the reply of the questionnaire received from the UT Administration, discussion held with the officers of the Chandigarh Administration, FPS Owners Association, Officials of FCI, Representatives of Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) who have prepared the project report for the Smart Card Project for Chandigarh  and on the spot study by the Committee.

 

3.                 As per census 2001 Chandigarh has the population of 900,635 with 56% of the male population and 44% females.  Chandigarh has an average literacy rate of 81.9%, higher than the national average of 64.8%.

 

4.                 51000 people are living below poverty line as per 1999-2000 data of Planning Commission.  The UT Administration has mentioned that the income criteria to obtain a BPL ration card in Chandigarh area was Rs. 300.91 per capita per month which has been increased to 432.09 during the year 2008. 

 

5.                 The Food & Supplies Department functions under the Secretary, Food & Supplies.  The Deputy Commissioner, who is also the Director, Food & Supplies, administers the department and day-to-day functioning is carried out by the Joint Director, Food & Supplies assisted by a District Food & Supply Officer.

 

6.                 Public Distribution system in Chandigarh is governed by the Chandigarh Public Distribution (Licencing and Control Order) 2002.  The Union Territory of Chandigarh is a small territory having only 33 fair price shops and 2 two Mobile vans for the distribution of Essential Commodities to the ration card holders. From May, 2008 the Administration started the issuance of computerized ration cards to the residents of Chandigarh and till December 2009  21,951 computerized Above Poverty Line, 9,798 Below Poverty Line and 445 Antyodaya ration cards have been issued. Kerosene to the eligible beneficiaries is being distributed through 10 kerosene pumps against computerized coupons being issued by the Department of Food & Supplies to the genuine kerosene users. It is stated here that Chandigarh Administration has been selected by the Govt. of India for the implementation of Smart Card based Public Distribution System for which the work is in progress and the scheme will be rolled out very shortly. Receipt of application forms to the Above Poverty Line families has already started at all the Sampark Centres functioning  in urban and rural areas of Chandigarh. Up till now the Administration has received 1,50,000 application forms. However, computerization of storage godowns has not been envisaged under the scheme which is under process.

 

7.                 The Committee found that the beneficiaries were not getting the full        quantity of food grain for the last two months at the time Committee visited the Union Territory.  The entitlement is 35 Kg of food grains    for BPL families while they were getting only 30 Kg of ration. No Government Order was provided to the Committee in this context. The Planning Commission in its ‘Performance Evaluation of Targeted Public Distribution System – 2005’ has disapproved such practice and suggested that “the Government of India may insist that the entitlement of food grains for BPL household in any State should not be lower than that stipulated by GOI”.

 

8.                 Chandigarh Administration had introduced Mobile Vans for Public Distribution System.  The UT Administration purchased two Mobile Vans for the distribution of essential commodities to the BPL and AAY ration card holders in the areas where there are no fair price shops (the number of ration card holders are less and feasibility of fair price shop in the area not found to be possible) In addition these vans are also deputed in the areas where a licence of a fair price shop has been cancelled /suspended or a depot holder resigned.  At present both the vans are catering to the needs of about 1900 ration card holders in villages, labour colonies and thickly populated sectors. The    expenditure and maintenance cost of these vans is borne by the      department.  Every month a detailed tour programme of both the vans     is fixed and circulated to all concerned for information.  Fresh consignment of essential commodities for distribution in the rural areas     of Chandigarh is issued to these vans only after submitting a certificate         obtained from the Gram Panchayat that the essential commodities          received by them during the last month were properly distributed to the consumers at the price fixed by the Administration.

 

9.                 Committee after studying the Chandigarh Public Distribution System observed that the concept of Mobile Van presents an interesting model in Chandigarh and seems to be drawing considerable support from the beneficiaries.

 

10.            As per the Chandigarh Public Distribution (Licence and Control       Order) 2002, the identification of BPL and AAY family is done as per     the Government of India guidelines in this regard. 

 

11.            As per the PDS Control Order 2001 a ration card is valid for the period   of 5 years from the date of issue unless it is suspended or cancelled earlier. It has also been provided in the PDS Control, Order 2001 that elimination of bogus ration cards shall be a continuous exercise by the State Government to check diversion of essential commodities. The State Government is supposed to conduct periodical checking of ration cards to weed out ineligible and bogus ration cards and bogus units in ration cards. In the UT administration BPL & AAY ration cards are issued for a period of two years only which is not as per PDS Control Order 2001.      This    encourages corruption and the beneficiaries   have to face great    difficulty.

 

12.            It was informed by the UT Administration that no survey is conducted and the application forms for the issuance of BPL and AAY  ration cards are received in the office and ration cards are issued to the eligible persons after on the spot verification by the concerned Area Inspector on the recommendation of Municipal Councilors in urban areas and village Sarpanch in rural areas. The Committee feels that the UT administration should follow the instructions of the Government of India in this regard. 

 

13.            Above poverty line ration cards are issued for a period of 3 years and the same are further renewed after spot verification which results in weeding out those persons who had shifted.

 

14.            There is only one food grain Godown with the Food & Supply Department of the UT Administration.  The stocks of food grains are procured by the Food & Supplies Department from the FCI Godown after joint inspection by the FCI and the officer of the Food & Supplies Department of UT Administration. The stock is stored in the Departmental godown from where the depot holder lifts the    stocks against the permits issued by the Department for further distribution to the card holders. It was observed that the weighing system in the godown is mechanical though large quantities of foodgrain are weighed on receipt of stocks and delivery to the FPS owners. The         transportation cost from the godown of Central Warehousing Corporation (which is authorized godown of FCI) to the godown of the Department is Rs. 4.95 per quintal. The transportation cost is paid by the   Department. The cost of transport from Department’s godown to FPS is paid by the FPS owners. 

 

15.            The Chandigarh Public Distribution (Licence & Control Order) 2002 lays down the procedure for issue of Licences or authorization to the fair price shops for distribution of essential commodities under PDS.  It also provides duties and responsibilities of the fair price shop owners.  As per the rules laid down by the Chandigarh Administration for the allotment of the fair price shop, the applicant is required to fulfill these         basic requirements – i) the applicant should at least be a matriculate,   (ii) should have sufficient space  to store the allocated essential       commodities and (iii) should be in  the Kirana business.  The      applications are invited through advertisement in the leading    newspapers.  After spot verification of the applications of eligible    candidates, the same are forwarded to the Committee for allotment    which is headed by Sub-Divisional Magistrate/Joint Director Food & Supplies. The applications are scrutinized by the Screening Committee constituted for this purpose.  In this process preference is given to Cooperatives, Gram Panchayats, NGOs, SC/ST and Ex-Servicemen applicants. There is a provision of Licence fee of Rs. 100/- and     security of Rs. 5000.  Licence is granted for a period of one year and further renewed for a period of one year.  A fee of renewal is also Rs.100/- p.a.

 

16.            The Commission payable   to the fair price shop owners is very low i.e. Rs. 4 /- per quintal. It was a general complaint by the fair price shop        owners that the Commission paid to them is very low and  it is not     possible to run the shop only by selling PDS commodities. In order to improve the viability of the FPS owner, the Door step delivery of the food grain has to be provided by the State without any charge in order to increase viability of FPS dealer and curb diversion during transportation. 

 

17.            Chandigarh Public Distribution (Licence & Control Order) 2002 provides for monitoring of the Public Distribution System including the functioning of the fair price shops. There are State Level, District level and fair price shop level Committees.  The functioning of fair price shop is monitored by the officers of the Department & field staff besides the Vigilance Committees.  As per the orders issued by the Administration the Ward/Village level Vigilance Committee is required to inspect every fair price shop once in a month.  It was found that Ward/Village level Committee for fair price shops have become un-operational and the same are therefore, again being re-constituted. Collector is responsible for proper functioning of the Vigilance Committees.  The Committee during the visit felt that all, the Vigilance Committees are working only on paper and actually they are not effective and operational.

 

18.            It was observed by the Committee that there is no enforcement      mechanism in the Union Territory. For the smooth functioning of PDS in the UT, it is necessary that there should be special squads in the Union Territory for enforcement of the Public Distribution System.  The squads should be responsible for   conducting raids, surprise checking, conducting prosecution, recommending departmental action against the officials, taking action      against the defaulting officials under the Essential Commodities Act    1955, Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and the Indian Penal Code.

 

19.            Presently there is no computer net work to monitor the working of the      PDS at the fair price shop level. However, Food & Supplies Department      has created complete data bank in respect of the APL, BPL and AAY   ration card holders which is recorded by taking thumb impression on the electronic bio-metric device and photographs of the ration card holders are being obtained.  From May, 2008, Department has started         issuing computerized ration cards for all the categories.  The UT           administration is on the way to implement the Smart Card Scheme in Chandigarh.  The Food & Supplies Department of the Chandigarh   would soon launch Web site where ration card details of the card holders would be available.

 

20.            The Committee feels that the computerization process undertaken by        the UT Administration is not comprehensive.  Here it is relevant to mention that this Computerization model adopted by the UT does not ensure monitoring of the PDS at the fair price shop level through the computer network of the NIC installed in the District NIC centers, which is necessary under the PDS Control Order, 2001. It is    suggested that the computerization model being adopted by UT Administration should cover every aspect of the PDS operations. This Committee has already submitted a report on Computerization of Public Distribution System which may be referred to.

 

21.             Although there is an attempt at computerization which is necessary for transparent and efficient distribution of PDS commodities, the Chandigarh model proposed for Computerization requires further refining taking into account the need for backend and front-end synergy to ensure an integrated online system.

 

22.            A suggestion was received that the PDS commodities could be supplied in 5 Kg   and 10 Kg Tamper Proof packing. The Committee feels that the suggestion is worth exploring as it would ensure that proper quality and quantity of food grain is delivered to the consumer. This would also make diversion of such commodities to open market difficult.

      

                                  ***************

 

Chapter 1

Introduction

 

1.1            The 1999-2000 data of Planning Commission shows that 2602.50 Lakh people were below poverty line in India which means 26.10 % of population was Below Poverty Line.

 

1.2            As per National Sample Survey (NSS) the percentage of people living below the poverty line in India has reduced from 36% in 1993-94 to 26 .10 percent in 1999-2000 and to 22 percent in 2004-05. The preliminary estimates of 2004-2005 NSS data shows that while the percentage  of BPL population in India has come down between 1993-94 and 2004-2005, in terms of net number of people, the situation remains alarming.

 

1.3       As per 2001 India census, Chandigarh has a population of 900,635.  The 1999-2000 data of Planning Commission shows 51000 people are living below poverty line. The state specific Poverty lines for the year 2001-2002 which is based on monthly per capita income ( as provided by Chandigarh Food and supply department) shows that it was Rs 432.09 . In its reply to this committees questionnaire,  the Chandigarh Administration has mentioned that the Income criteria to obtain a BPL ration card in Chandigarh was Rs. 300.91 per capita per month which has been increased  to Rs 432.09 during year 2008.


                                                     Chapter 2

Structure of Public Distribution System

 

2.1            The Food and Civil Supplies Department functions under the supervision of the Secretary, Food and Supplies. The Deputy Commissioner, who is also the Director, Food and Supplies, administers the department and day-to-day functioning is carried out by the Joint Director Food and Supplies assisted by a District Food and Supplies Officer.

 

2.2            Public Distribution System in Chandigarh is governed by the Chandigarh Public Distribution (Licencing and control order) 2002.

 

2.3            This Department is mainly concerned with the Public Distribution System to ensure that a minimum quantity of essential commodities such as wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil are available to people at reasonable rates.

 

2.4            The structure of the Food and Civil Supplies Department, Chandigarh is as under :-

 

Food and Civil Supply Department

 

 

Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies

 

 

Deputy Commissioner (Director, Food and Civil Supplies )

 

 


Joint Director, Food and Civil Supply

 

 


District Food and Supply Officer

 

 

2.5     PRESENT SCALE OF DISTRIBUTION OF ESSENTIAL COMMODITIS,                   ISSUE PRICE THEREOF:-

 

S. No.

Name of the Commodity

Scale of Issue

Rate
(in Rs. per Kg.)

1.

Wheat BPL

35 kg

4.50 / kg

2.

Rice BPL

35 kg

6.02 / kg

3.

Rice AAY

35 kg

3.00/kg

4.

Wheat AAY

35 kg

2.00/kg

 

2.6     The Union Territory of Chandigarh is a small territory having only 33 fair price shops and 2 two Mobile vans for the distribution of Essential Commodities to the ration cards holders. From May, 2008 the Administration started the issuance of computerized ration cards to the residents of Chandigarh and till now 21,951 computerized Above Poverty Line, 9,798 Below Poverty Line and 445 Antyodaya ration cards have been issued. Kerosene to the eligible beneficiaries is being distributed through 10 kerosene pumps against computerized coupons being issued by the Department of Food & Supplies to the genuine kerosene users. It is stated here that Chandigarh Administration has been selected by the Govt. of India for the implementation of Smart Card based Public Distribution System for which the work is in progress and the scheme will be rolled out very shortly.

 

2.7            The office of DFSO situated in sector 17 of Chandigarh is computerized to the extent of issuance of ration cards. Chandigarh is one of the cities in the country which will be issuing smart cards in coming months. The proposed scheme which is under process, envisages computerization of fair price shops, but computerizing the storage godowns is not contemplated under the scheme.

 

2.8            As will be discussed in detail a little later, the scheme of computerization which is being proposed for the city does not automate the backend operations and hence will not achieve the objectives of transparency and prevention of diversion.

 

2.9            The staff in the said office was sufficient except 2 officials who were suspended on the charge of corruption.

 

2.10       MOBILE VANS

 

A.                One of the unique features of Chandigarh Administration is the introduction of Mobile Vans for Public Distribution System.

B.                 The Food & Supplies Department purchased two Mobile Vans costing Rs. 4,94,000/- , during the Year 1988 with financial assistance by the Government of India.  These vans have been pressed into service for the distribution of Essential Commodities to the Below Poverty Line and AAY ration card holders in the areas where there are no fair price shops or the number of ration cards are very less and to allot a fair price shop there would not be possible. In addition these vans are also deputed in the areas where a Licence of a fair price shop has been cancelled/suspended or a depot holder has resigned. At present both the vans are catering to needs of about 1,900 ration card holders in villages, labour colonies and thickly populated sectors. Every month a tour programme of both the Vans is fixed and circulated to all concerned for information. For operating each van one driver, one salesman and one helper has been appointed by the Department and the expenditure on maintenance and expenditure on the fuel etc. is borne by the department.  Annual Expenditure on account of the salary of the staff of the Mobile Vans is Rs.5,11,200  and expense for  fuel is  Rs. 96,000 approx.

 

C.                 These vans are distributing the TPDS commodities in the rural area of Chandigarh and they are not issued any fresh consignment of Essential Commodities till they submit a certificate from the Gram Panchayat that the essential commodities received by them during the last month were properly distributed to the consumers at the price fixed by the Administration.

 

 

D.         Committee after studying the Chandigarh PDS observed that the concept of Mobile Van is an innovative and beneficial model for distribution system in Chandigarh.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

Issue of Ration cards

 

3.1                  The ration card issued under PDS is a very important document and due care has to be taken in issuing the same. The issue of the ration card to a person entitles him to obtain certain essential commodities at a certain scale, at certain prices from certain specified outlets through out the month and in installments.

 

3.2                  The Chandigarh PDS (Licencing & Control order) 2002 provides that the identification of the BPL and AAY families is to be done as per the Government of India guidelines in this regard by Municipal Councilors, in the urban areas and by the Sarpanch, Gram Panchayat in the rural areas of the UT of Chandigarh.

 

3.3                  In their reply to the Questionnaire sent by the Committee, Chandigarh Food and Supply Department has mentioned that for the inclusion of eligible beneficiaries, no survey is conducted and the application forms for the issuance of BPL and AAY are received in the office and ration cards are issued to the eligible persons after spot verification by the concerned Area Inspectors on the recommendation of Municipal Councilors in urban areas and village Sarpanch in rural areas.

 

3.4                  Data provided by UT Food and Supply Department in their reply to Questionnaire sent by the Committee shows that every year approx 10000 ration cards are issued in BPL category and every year about half the no. of ration card issued in previous years are deleted. Same is the case with AAY category too. Thus, this process of continuous issuance and deletion of ration card though on the one hand shows that Food and Supply Department is continuously working on review of beneficiaries so that food grains of subsidized rates be issued to the real beneficiaries. It also on the other hand gives an inference that either the department issues ration card without proper verification which adds to so many bogus cards or the migration in Chandigarh is so high. In view of the importance of the ration card every care has to be taken against its possible misuse. The Government of India’s direction and guidelines issued to States long back in 1997-98 also says that as a rough estimate, the proportion of such bogus cards is at least 20%.  

 

3.5     The procedure for issue of ration cards

 

A.                      The Central Government has for the purpose of issuing ration cards divided the population into 3 broad categories, Above Poverty Line (APL), Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). Clause 2(d) of the Public Distribution System order, 2001 defines ‘Above Poverty Line Families’ as those families which have been issued  Above Poverty Line (APL) ration cards by the state Governments for issue of foodgrains under the Public Distribution System, Clause 2(g) defines ‘ Below Poverty Line Families’ as those families which have been identified by the state Government for issue of food grains as specially subsidized rate adopting the estimates of poverty given by the Central Government. Clause 2(e) defines ‘Antyodaya Families’ as the poorest families from amongst the Below Poverty Line (BPL) Families identified by the state Governments. Such families are entitled to receive food grains under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana.

 

B.                       Clause 3 of the PDS Order states that State Governments shall identify living Below Poverty Line as per Paragraph 1 of the Order. Para 1 requires state Governments to formulate suitable guidelines for the purpose of identification of families living Below the poverty line (BPL), including the Antyodaya families, as per the estimate adopted by the Central Government. It is further provided that care be taken to ensure that the families so identified are really the poorest. Para 1(2) requires the state Governments to get the lists of BPL and Antyodaya Families reviewed every year for the purpose of deletion of ineligible families and inclusion of eligible families. 

 

C.                       Clause 4 of the Public Distribution Order 2001 requires the State Government to issue distinctive ration cards to APL, BPL and AAY and further mandate that a periodical review and checking of the ration cards be conducted as per Paragraph 2 of the Annexure to the Order. Para 2(3) provides that State Government shall issue distinctive ration cards to APL, BPL, and Antyodaya Families.

 

D.                       BPL and Antyodaya ration cards were  issued in year 2008 by the UT administration for one year however presently these cards are issued with a validity of two years. Issue of ration cards only for a period of one or two year entails great difficulties for the actual beneficiaries and encourages corruption. Normally a ration card should be issued for a period of five years and the head of the family should be required to fill up a form every year and verification should be done by the Inspector.

 

3.6     The procedure for issue of ration cards in Chandigarh is as                              under :-

 

A.                      Guidelines for the identification of BPL and Antyodaya families were issued by the Chandigarh Administration during the year 2001 and normally they follow the criteria made by the Central Government.

B.                       Above poverty line (APL) ration cards are issued on the production of a surrender / deletion certificate issued by the rationing authority from where the applicant has migrated, two group family photographs along with an application form duly attested by Oath commissioner/ Notary or Gazetted Officer.

C.                       Below Poverty Line(BPL) ration cards are issued only to the families who have an APL card, on the production of two group  family photographs, an application duly supported an affidavit and recommended by the Municipal Councilor of the area in case of urban and village  Sarpanch  in case of rural  area. The APL ration card of the applicant is retained by the office in order to avoid its misuse. Income Criteria to obtain a BPL ration card in Chandigarh was Rs 300.91 per capita per month which has now been increased to 432.09 during the year 2008.

D.                      Antyodaya ration card is issued along with the BPL ration card in case the income of the family does not exceed Rs. 250/- per capita per month. Senior Citizens    without any regular income or social support, widows and families headed by widows, terminally ill and physically handicapped are issued AAY ration cards under ‘Expanded Antyodaya Anna Yojna’ even if they are not in possession of any ration card by producing an application form duly recommended by the Area Councilor/ village Sarpanch, two passport size group photo of family and an affidavit duly certified.

E.                       APL ration cards were  earlier issued for a period of three years and the same are further renewed after spot verification which results in weeding out   of  cards of those persons who had shifted.  However in
December 2009 the Committee was informed that  presently the
APL cards are issued with a validity of five years.

 

Total Number of Ration Cards (30th October 2006)

Antyodaya

2043

Below Poverty Line (B.P.L.)

7444

Above Poverty Line (A.P.L.)

222483

Total

231970

 

 

Total no. of Ration cards  in June 08

Antyodaya

1472

Below Poverty Line (B.P.L.)

8132

Above Poverty Line (A.P.L.)

229068

Total

238672

 

F.                        The comparison of the above two tables show that approximately 7000 cards increased between October 06 – June 07. The number of Antyodaya cards have decreased and number of BPL have increased.  Number of APL cards has increased by about 6500 approx.

 

G.                      For making addition and deletion in the ration card the applicant is required to submit an application form. Addition of child is made on the production of birth certificate with immunization certificate and adult on the production of surrender/deletion certificate. Deletion is made on a simple request on an application.

 

H.                      The number of BPL and AAY cards cancelled during the last 5 years is as under :-

 

BELOW POVERTY LINE

 

Year                                          Number of ration cards deleted

2002                                                                                                                              -

2003                                                                                                                              6,190

2004                                                                                                                              5,798

2005                                                                                                                              5,345

2006                                                                                                                              5,418

2007                                                                                                                              6,629

 

ANTYODAYA RATION CARDS

 

2002                                                                                                                              782

2003                                                                                                                              1,960

2004                                                                                                                              1,874

2005                                                                                                                              1,815

2006                                                                                                                              1,815

2007                                                                                                                              2,450

 

I.                         No temporary ration cards are issued to the migrant people. For the inclusion of eligible beneficiaries no annual survey is conducted in Chandigarh as the application forms for the issuance of BPL and Antyodaya ration cards are received in the office and ration cards are issued to the eligible persons after spot verification by the concerned Area Inspectors on the recommendation of Municipal Councilors in urban areas and village Sarpanches in rural areas. Since BPL and Antyodaya ration cards are issued for a period of one year in Chandigarh the same are revalidated every year after deputing the field staff in the villages and labour colonies. Data indicating the number of BPL and AAY ration Cards issued by the department and number of persons drawing benefit is as under:-

i.                   BELOW POVERTY LINE

 

Year                           No. of ration cards issued

2002                                                                                                           9.643

2003                                                                                                           10, 408

2004                                                                                                           11,423

2005                                                                                                           11,788

2006                                                                                                           13,065

2007                                                                                                           14,004

 

          ii.       ANTYODAYA RATION CARDS

Year                           Number of Ration Cards issued

2002                                                                                                                              3,175

2003                                                                                                                              3,481

2004                                                                                                                              3560

2005                                                                                                                              3801

2006                                                                                                                              3842

2007                                                                                                                              3876

 

J.       Under the Targeted Public Distribution Scheme (TPDS) every BPL family is entitled to 35 Kg of food grain. At the time of the visit to Chandigarh it was noticed by the Committee that for the past two months BPL ration card holders were provided only 30 Kg of food grain per family. On inquiry, it was revealed that lesser quantity was being   issued under instruction from the Department. The officials were asked to supply a copy of the instructions issued in this regard by the Department but the same was not provided to the Committee. The Planning Commission in its ‘Performance Evaluation of Targeted Public Distribution System – 2005’ has disapproved of such practice and suggested that “the Government of India may insist that the entitlement to food grains for BPL household in any State should not be lower than that stipulated by GOI”.

 

J.                  The General Manager FCI, Punjab and Chandigarh Division, informed the committee that there are guidelines from the Central Government regarding issue of ration in full quantity to the beneficiaries and the quantity of allotment fixed by Government can not be reduced. However, same was not furnished to the Committee.

 

K.                 The Committee observed in DSO office Chandigarh that Ration Card booklets were stolen by one FSO and issued to people on his own. Thus bogus cards were issued by him. Ration Card booklets should be numbered while printing the same and should be kept under proper care and custody. It should be issued number wise so that in case booklets went missing the same could be easily traced timely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

Distribution of foodgrain

4.1     Since the PDS involves issue of essential commodities to a large number of people through a network   of fair price shops, on a recurring basis, it is extremely essential that there is close monitoring of the System. While the Central Government has the responsibility to ensure availability and affordability, the State has the responsibility for ensuring accessibility of the PDS foodgrain.

 

4.2     In Chandigarh, permits of Essential Commodities are issued by the Food & Supplies Department to the fair price shops on the recommendation of the Area Inspectors and the stocks are released to the fair price shop owners from the godown owned by the Department after depositing the money in the account of the Department under the supervision of the Area Inspector.

 

4.3     There is only one food grain godown owned by the Food and Supplies Department located in Industrial area, Chandigarh where the stocks are stored after lifting from Food Corporation of India. The Committee found that the weighing system in the godown is mechanical even though large quantities are weighed in the whole sale godown. The Committee feels that in order to have a complete automation of the PDS it is necessary that the stocks are maintained in the whole sale godown in computerized form. The weighing system should be linked to the computer system so that any incoming and outgoing transaction is automatically recorded in the computer when the food grain is weighed on the electronic weighing system.

 

 

4.4     Stocks of food grains are procured by the Food & Supplies Department     from the Food Corporation of India’s godown after joint inspection and       stored in departmental godown, from where the depot holders lift the    stocks against the permits issued by the department for further           distribution to the card holders. Efforts are made to ensure that stocks      of Essential Commodities are delivered to the fair price shop         owners in     the first week of every month for which the allocation          is made, subject      to availability of stocks in the godown and usually it is done on time.

 

4.5     The Inspector Food & Supplies deputed in the godown lifts the stocks       from the Central Ware Housing Corporation located in Chandigarh      against the release order issued by the Food Corporation of India,       Punjab Region, Chandigarh.

 

4.6            The cost of transportation of stocks from the godown of Central Ware Housing Corporation to the godown of the Department is Rs 4.95 per quintal. The transportation charges from FCI Godowns to the Department’s godowns are paid by the department and cost of transport from Department’s godowns to FPS is paid by FPS owner. This is in contradiction with the PDS Control Order 2001 which provides that State will ensure the door step delivery of the food grains from the State Godown to the fair price shops. In order to improve the viability of the FPS owner, the Door step delivery of the food grain has to be provided by the UT without any charge in order to minimize the expenses of the Licencee on transportation and handling which in turn improve the viability of the FPS owners.

 

 

 

 

4.7            Allocation and off take

A.      Wheat

 

Year

Allotment in ‘000Mt

 Percentage offtake in UT of Chandigarh

 

 

 

APL

BPL

AAY

Total

2000-2001

15.478

0

0

0

0

2001-2002

16.97

0

0.938

0

0.29

2002-2003

75.603

0.045

14.706

0

1.71

2003-2004

71.336

0

7.928

0

0.88

2004-2005

69.336

0

0

0

0

2005-2006

62.072

0

0

0

0

2006-2007

9.39

0

0

0

0

2007-2008

0.708

39.667

206.618

0

226.13

2008-2009

APL- 1.8

BPL- 0.417

AAY- 0

TOTAL- 2.217

0

99.3

0

18.7

(source: food bulletin  September 2009)

 

 

B.       Rice

 

 

Year

Allotment in ‘000Mt

Percentage offtake in UT of Chandigarh

 

 

 

APL

BPL

AAY

Total  %

2000-2001

2.52

0

83.333

0

15.87

2001-2002

2.708

0

15.714

100.000

13.77

2002-2003

13.245

0.246

100.00

100.000

8.29

2003-2004

13.816

0

15.678

79.167

6.43

2004-2005

15.816

0

5.346

21.509

2.28

2005-2006

23.08

0

0

0

0

2006-2007

25.816

0

9.194

7.883

1.08

2007-2008

3.42

0

87.204

64.640

81.35

2008-2009

 

3.411

 

0

99.3

64%

90.8

 

(Source: food bulletin September 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

4.8            The Committee feels that if the Government of UT permits issuance of lesser quantity of foodgrain, the beneficiaries must be informed through press release, media reports etc about the quantity of foodgrain they are entitled. Otherwise the fair price shop dealers get opportunity to misrepresent the beneficiaries about their entitlements and to divert the foodgrain meant for the them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

 

                             MODE OF APPOINTMENT OF DEALERS

 

5.1     The Chandigarh PDS Order 2002 under clause 5 lays down the       procedure     for issue of Licences or authorization to the fair price          shops for the distribution of essential commodities under Public           Distribution System. It also provides the duties and responsibilities of       the fair price shop owners.

 

5.2     Requirement for applying for the Licence for Fair Price Shop

 

A.      As per the rules made by the Chandigarh Administration for the allotment           of fair price shop the applicant should fulfill these basic requirements:-

 

(i)                            The Applicant should be at least matriculate,

(ii)                          Should have sufficient space to store allocated Essential Commodities, and

(iii)                        Should be in kirana  business.

 

 

5.3     Procedure for opening of Fair Price Shop

 

(i)                            Whenever, need arises for opening of fair price shops, advertisement is given in all the leading Newspapers for inviting applications.

(ii)                          After spot verification the application of the eligible applicants are forwarded to a screening Committee comprising Director, Additional Director Food and Supply Department and Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM).

(iii)                        The applications are scrutinized by the screening committee on the basis of minimum requirements which are fixed by the administration.

(iv)                        In this process, preference is given to Cooperatives, Gram Panchayats, NGOs, SC/ST and Ex-Servicemen applicants.

 

5.4     Fee for grant and renewal of Licence

 

          Clause 9 of the Chandigarh PDS Order, 2002 states that:-

 

(a)              A Licence under this order may be granted or renewed for a period of one year at the request of fair price shop owner and shall unless previously suspended or revoked expire on the 31st March of the year up to which it is granted or renewed following the date of its issue or last renewal.

 

(b)              The fee payable for the grant of Licence shall be as under :-

 

(i) Licence Fee             :        One hundred rupees only

(ii) Security                 :        Five Thousand rupees only

(c)               The fee payable for the renewal of a Licence shall be one hundred rupees per annum.

(d)              An application for the renewal of a Licence shall be made so as to reach the Licensing Authority not less than thirty days before the date on which the licence expires;

Provided that the Licensing Authority may entertain such an application made after the date of expiry of licence, if, it is satisfied that the applicant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the application in time.

 

(e)              The fee payable for the issue of duplicate copy of licence shall be one hundred rupees.

 

(f)                The Licensing Authority may after giving the fair price shop owner concerned an opportunity of stating his case and for reason to be recorded in writing refuse to grant or renew a licence.

 

(g)              All fair price shop owners shall be required to obtain a licence under this order within 60 (sixty) days from the date of issue of this Order, in the format appended hereto.

 

 

Clause 5 provides that the District Food and Supplies Officer, Union Territory, Chandigarh, shall issue a Licence for regulating the sale and         distribution of the essential commodities and shall lay down the duties and responsibilities of the fair price shop owners as per paragraph 5 of the Annex ; of the Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2001 of the Central Government, which, inter alia, should cover the following :-

 

(a)              Sale of essential commodities shall be as per the entitlement of the ration card holders at the retail issue price fixed by the State Government under the Public Distribution Order from time to time;

(b)              Display of information on a notice board at a prominent place in the shop on daily basis regarding (a) List of BPL and Antyodaya beneficiaries; (b) entitlement of essential commodities; (c) scale of issue; (d) retail issue price; (e) timings of opening and closing of the fair price shop; (f) stock of essential commodities received during the month; (g) opening and closing stock of the essential commodities and; (h) the authority for the redressal of grievances/lodging complaints with respect to quality and quantity of the essential commodities under the Public Distribution System ;

(c)               Maintenance of records of ration card holders (APL, BPL and Antyodaya), stock register, sale register;

(d)              Furnishing of copies of specific documents, namely ration card register, stock register, sale register to the office of Gram Panchayat or Vigilance Committee;

(e)              Display of samples of foodgrains being supplied through the fair price shop;

(f)                Production of books and records relating to the allotment and distribution of essential commodities to the inspecting agency and such information as may be called for by the authority;

(g)              Account of the actual distribution of essential commodities and balance stock at the end of the month to the authority of the Chandigarh Administration , with a copy to the Gram Panchayat;

(h)              Opening and closing of the fair price shop as per the prescribed timings displayed on the notice board;

(i)                Ration card holder shall not be denied supply as per the entitlement of the essential commodities, lying in stock with fair price shop owner under the Public Distribution System.

(j)                Fair price shop owner shall provide relevant extract of the records maintained by him to the beneficiary on payment of Rs 10 if, so requested;

(k)              Fair price shop owner shall not retain ration card after the supply of essential commodities to the ration card holders;

Fair price shop owner shall only issue/distribute essential commodities to the ration card holder or his/her family members as mentioned in the ration card and not to any other person whose name is not included in the said ration card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

VIABILITY OF Fair Price Shop

 

6.1            During the meeting Mr. Rao, Deputy Commissioner cum Director, Food and Supplies, informed the Committee that the commission payable to the Fair price owners is Rs 4 per quintal.

 

6.2            The Landing Cost of Wheat for BPL to the Administration is Rs 438.55 per quintal inclusive of transportation and unloading in godown and the same is issued to the depot holders @ Rs 446.32 per quintal. Similarly the landing cost of BPL Rice is Rs 594.55 per quintal which is issued to the depot holders @ Rs 598.16 per quintal. The landing cost of AAY Rice is Rs 318.95 and the same is issued to the depot holders @ Rs 296.16 per quintal. The cost of man power which comes to about Rs 7.84 per quintal for lifting the entire allocation is not included in the landing cost.

 

6.3            The difference between the average market price and the landed cost per quintal for wheat was Rs 611.45 per quintal and for Rice is Rs 905.45 per quintal. The same quality of wheat was available in the open market @ Rs 1,050.00 per quintal and Rice @ Rs 1,500 per quintal at the time of first visit of the committee that i.e. August 2008.

 

6.4            The average ware housing cost in Chandigarh comes to about Rs 39.20 per quintal in case the entire allocation is utilized. It is pertinent to mention here that in Chandigarh the stocks are not stored for more than a period of one and a half month.

 

6.5            The cost of transportation of stocks from the Godown of FCI to the Godown of the Department is Rs 4.95 per quintal.

6.6            The rate at which Fair price shops gets the essential commodities from the administration are:-

 

                   Sr. No                    Commodity                                Rate

 

                   1.                          Wheat(BPL)                      4.50 Per Kg

                   2.                          Rice(BPL)                         6.02 Per Kg  

                   3.                          Rice(AAY)                        3.00 Per Kg

                   4.                          Wheat(AAY)                     2.00 Per Kg  

 

6.7            During Committee’s visit to the Fair Price Shop No-24, Sector 25 D, in Chandigarh, it was observed that the shop owner was selling general items including atta apart from PDS goods. On inquiry, it was informed by the Fair price owner Mr. Jagdish Rai that the commission paid to them was very low and it is not possible to run the shop by  honestly selling the PDS Commodities.

 

6.8            In order to improve the viability of the FPS, the door step delivery of the food grain has to be provided by the UT without any charge in order to minimize the expenses of the Licencee on transportation and handling charges.

 

6.9            It has been the experience of the Committee that  any increase in the commission even by 100% payable to FPS owners, will not make the shop viable .FPS owner when applies for a licence knows fully well that running an FPS is not  a profitable proposition.  He opts for the shop as it gives him status in the locality.  The Committee found that some time an FPS owner has  also political influence  and has some sort of rapport with the political bosses.  In one State Committee found that two FPS owners  were elelcted  as MLAs and one as Municipal  Counselor .  Further, in view of the vast difference in the price of PDS food grain and open market price  an FPS owner indulges in illegal earning by diverting  PDS food grains to black market.  Moreover, FPS owner is not inclined  to open the shop for whole of the month and each day at the notified hours..  To stem this  rot it is necessary that FPS owner must have a kirana shop.  He should be a man of substance in the locality.  He will have the advantage of the ration card holders as his customers to buy grocery from his shop .  It should be a condition for the licence that  an FPS owner must run a grocery/kirana shop.  

 

6.10       As the viability of FPS cannot possibly be achieved by increasing the commission payable to the FPS owners, the Licencees of FPS must be allowed to have a kirana shop running along with the FPS.  This in fact should be incorporated in the Licence as a condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 7

VIGILANCE

 

7.1     Guidelines issued by the Central Government for constitution of Vigilence Committees.

 

A.      Instructions have already been issued by the Central Government to constitute vigilance           committees at fair price shop, Taluk, District and State Level. This is supplemental to the administrative review done at various levels. A social audit of the working of the PDS in association with the intended beneficiaries of the system is quite necessary. The instructions provide that at FPS Level, the committee can include a few card holders attached to the shop; (some of whom should be women) elected President of the Panchayat or   Municipal Councilor, consumer activist and other social workers of repute. Taluk level committees with Taluk Supply Officer as convener can also be    formed. Review of working of PDS should be a subject of review in the Panchayats and Nagar Palikas at their regular meetings.  

 

7.2     Vigilance in Chandigarh

 

A.      Clause 6(1) of Chandigarh PDS Order, 2002 provides that procedure         for monitoring of the Public Distribution System including the functioning of the fair price shops by the Chandigarh           Administration        shall be as per sub- para(4) of Paragraph 6 of the Annexe to the Public           Distribution System           (Control) Order, 2001, of the Government of India.

 

B.       The Clause 6(2) provides that the authority for sub-paras (2) and (9)  of para 6 of the Annexe to the Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2001 of the Government of India, shall be the Additional Director, Food and      Supplies and the District Food and Supplies Officer, Union Territory, Chandigarh.

 

C.       The Vigilance Committees were constituted by the Administration in         1997, when the Targeted Public Distribution System was introduced.   In the year    2006, the Administration reconstituted the Vigilance           Committees as per the Directions of the Government of India. By the           Order No.  DFSO-   CH-IDC-2006/487 dated 16th May. 2006. The Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh constituted the State Level, District Level and Fair Price Shop Level Vigilance Committees for the     implementation of the Targeted Public Distribution System in          Chandigarh, as under :-

 

1.                 STATE LEVEL COMMITTEE

 

  • Advisor to Administrator, Chairman
  • Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administrator
  • Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh
  • Joint Director Food  & Supplies and Consumer Affair, U.T., Chandigarh
  • Sh. Pawan Kumar Bansal, M.P.
  • Mayor, Municipal Corporation
  • President Consumer Forum ( Regd), Chandigarh
  • Director, Block Development and Panchayats

 

 

2.                 DISTRICT LEVEL COMMITTEE

 

·        Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh

·        Joint Director Food & Supplies and Consumer Affairs

·        All the S.D.M.s

·        District Food & Supplies and Consumer Affairs Officer

·        General Secretary, Chandigarh Consumer Forum (Regd)

·        Senior Deputy Mayor, Municipal Corporation

 

3.                 FAIR PRICE SHOP LEVEL COMMITTEE

 

·        Municipal Councilor of the Area

·        Incharge Police Station or Police Post

·        Principal or Head Teacher of Government School in the area

·        Inspector Food and Supplies of the Area

·        4 permanent residents of the Area

 

7.3     It was stated by the department officials that a meeting to educate and to make the members aware about their duties was convened by the Administration on 18.11.2006. A meeting of members of the Ward Village Level Vigilance Committees was again convened on 9.6.08 but keeping in view the lukewarm response of the official and non official members of the committee the Administration has intimated to all the official members of the Committee, the objective of the Constitution of the Committee and has advised them to involve themselves in the  Vigilance committees. The non official members of the Committees are being replaced for which the case is under active consideration. During the last 2 years, i.e. 2007-08, the Vigilance Committees have checked 20 fair price shops.

 

7.4     The Chandigarh PDS Order 2002 states that the objectives and       functions      of these Vigilance Committees shall be as under:-

 

 

 

1.       STATE LEVEL COMMITTEE

 

          The State level Committee will review overall functioning of the TPDS       in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, problems and difficulties           being faced   in the smooth functioning of the Fair Price Shops on      receipt of reports, if any, from the District Level Committee. The     problems which warrant attention of the Chandigarh Administration       or the Central Government for final decision will be brought to the        notice of the respective Government by the State Level Committee.

 

2.       DISTRICT LEVEL COMMITTEE

 

          The District Level Committee will redress/solve the problems at their         level   to the maximum extent. Whenever, it is not possible for the Fair           Price   Shop level Committee, they would refer the matter to the State Level Committee, whenever, required for the attention of the         Government of           India about the problems being faced in the     implementation of TPDS.

 

3.       FAIR PRICE SHOP LEVEL COMMITTEE

 

          The Fair Price Shop Level Committee will cover all the fair price shops       engaged in the distribution of Essential Commodities to the Below      Poverty Line and Antyodaya Card Holders, falling in their Ward, every          month, and report to the District Food & Supplies and Consumer    Affairs officer, Union territory, Chandigarh, the omissions and         commissions found in the distribution. It will be the responsibility of          the concerned Inspector Food & Supplies (Area) to ensure the           inspection of all the Fair price shops by the said committee.

          The functioning of the Fair price shop is being monitored by the     Officers of the department, field staff besides the Vigilance Committees.

 

7.5     As per the orders issued by the Administration the Ward/Village Level       Vigilance Committee is required to inspect every fair price shop once in         a month. Whereas As per Citizen’s Charter each fair price shop is required to be checked once in two months but of late it has been   observed that the Ward/Village Level Committees for fair price     shops have become un-operational and the same are, therefore,     again being re-constituted.

 

7.6     During the Chandigarh Visit, Mr. Rao, Secretary Food and Supply    informed that Collector is responsible for proper functioning of the          Vigilance committees and he also holds meetings in the capacity of    collector as well.

 

7.7     The inspecting authorities are required to conduct the physical verification to ensure that there is no diversion of stocks and the check points are as under :-

 

  1. Whether the samples have been displayed,
  2. Rate and stock position is properly displayed.
  3. Sale and stock registers are properly being maintained.
  4. Lists of the Below Poverty and Antyodaya families are displayed.

 

7.8     Observation:-

All the above information about the constitution and functions of the Vigilance Committees was provided by the Chandigarh Administration in there reply to Committee’s questionnaire. However, in the meeting with the officials of Chandigarh Administration and   during Visit, the fact that came to light was that all the Vigilance Committees are working only on paper and actually they are not at all effective and operational. This fact was also admitted by the all the officials present in the meeting held on 19th August, 2008, in Chandigarh.

It is the duty of the Administration to activate the vigilance committees. The Vigilance committees are required to meet regularly and at least once in every quarter. The Secretary of the Food and Supply department should be made responsible for ensuring the meetings of the State Level Committee. The District Magistrate should be responsible for the District Level Committee while the Taluk Officer should take the responsibility for the meetings of the Taluk and FPS Level Committees. It is suggested that the Administration should notify the date, time and place for the meeting of each committee well in advance and if any member does not attend two consecutive meetings he should be immediately replaced.

 

7.9            Complaint Mechanism 

 

          The Complaint can be filed either in writing in the office or on        telephone     to the Director Food & Supplies and Consumer Affairs or        the District Food      & Supplies and Consumer Affairs Officer, Union         Territory, Chandigarh. The complaints, so received, are referred to the     Assistant Food & Supplies Officer or the Inspector Food & Supplies     (Area) for looking into the matter with a report to the office. It is     pertinent to mention here that the officers of the department remain           present in the office to listen to the grievances of the general public.

 

     Committee observed that the existing system of Complaint mechanism      does not provide any system for cross check i.e. the system through      which complainant can check the status of the complaint he has made.

     Thus, Committee feels that there should be a proper Complaint      mechanism in the UT with set up of 24 hrs helpline where the        beneficiary can lodge his complaint.   There should be a system of the      follow up of the complaint. The concerned authority should look into        the complaints received through the helpline and take appropriate          action           against the defaulting Licencees and the officials concerned.

 

7.10       Enforcement Mechanism

         

It was observed by the Committee that there is no enforcement mechanism in the Union Territory though the Chandigarh Public Distribution (Licence & Control Order) 2002 specifically provides for monitoring of the PDS.

 

For the smooth functioning of PDS in the UT, it is necessary that there should be a special squad for the enforcement of the            Public Distribution System.  The squads should be responsible for conducting raids, surprise checking, conducting prosecution, recommending departmental action against the officials and taking action against the defaulting officials under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and the Indian Penal Code.

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8

Computerziation

 

8.1            In Chandigarh, presently there is no computer network to monitor the functioning of the PDS at the fair price shop level. It is however, stated that the Food & Supplies Department has created a complete Data Bank in respect of the Above Poverty Line, Below Poverty Line and Antyodaya ration card holders which is recorded by taking thumb impressions on the electronic bio-metric device and photographs of the card holders are being obtained. For strengthening the TPDS the Department has started issuing computerized Above Poverty Line, Below Poverty Line and Antyodaya ration Cards from May, 2008 onwards. From May, 2008 the Administration started the issuance of computerized ration cards to the residents of Chandigarh and up till December 2009, 21,951 computerized Above Poverty Line, 9,798 Below Poverty Line and 445 Antyodaya ration cards have been issued. The Smart Card based Public Distribution System will be started in Chandigarh very shortly as the process has almost been completed.

 

8.2            Chandigarh Food and Supplies Department would soon launch a website where ration card details of the holders would be available to bring in complete transparency in the system. The Department has already developed a comprehensive website which would provide various facilities like online application for ration cards, display of daily rates of essential commodities, display of details of all existing ration cards (including family photos) online, an online grievance redressal section and all statistical reports being compiled in the Department. For this, the Department has already made data entry of about 60,000 existing ration card records and scanned the group photos and application forms. With the online display of these details, chances of fake ration cards being issued would be eliminated, issuance of duplicate ration cards (against lost of stolen cards) would be facilitated and other Departments would be able to instantaneously check the genuineness of any ration card submitted as identification document. The facility of online application of ration cards would eliminate the need for multiple visits to the Department for issuance of ration cards and the daily rate list display would ensure parity of rates of essential items like fruits and vegetables all over the city.

 

8.3            Under this system, all future application for ration cards would be processed through a bio-metric software module which has been developed by the Department.

 

8.4            SMART CARDS

          The Government of India has announced a pilot project for Smart Card     based delivery system for strengthening the Public Distribution System.        Union territory, Chandigarh, is preparing and implementing the project. The detailed project report has been prepared by the Administration         and           submitted to Government of India for approval. A meeting in         this regard    was held in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food &     Public Distribution, New Delhi on 8th August, 2008 which was           attended by the Director Food & Supplies, representatives of the NIC         and M/s Price Water House Coopers. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs,      Food & Public Distribution, New Delhi made  some observations and     based upon that a revised Detailed project Report is again being sent        for approval and final orders. The scheme was supposed to be   operational with effect from 01/10/2008 on receipt of its approval and funds from Government of India.

 

          Chandigarh Administration is going to roll out the Smart Card based         Public           Distribution System as per direction of the Govt. of India very         shortly for     which the distribution and receipt of application forms to the Above Poverty Line families has already started at all the     Sampark Centres     functioning in urban and rural areas of   Chandigarh. Till now the Administration has received 1,50,000     application forms.

 

PWC (Price Water House Coopers) has submitted a DPR (Detailed Project Report) for the Smart Card based Public Distribution System, in June 2008 to the Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, Chandigarh Administration, wherein after studying the prevailing status of computerization of PDS operations in Chandigarh, it has been suggested that the prevailing system of issuing ration cards to eligible applicants be replaced by smart cards. It is also proposed that a card would be issued to the FPS dealer as well. The Committee held meetings with Ms. Jasleen Kaur, Senior Consultant, PWC. She informed the committee that their focus under this project is only on distribution. The project has been planned to computerize the retail end, and does not include the procurement part. She also told that computerization of godown is also not included.

 

8.5            The consumer cards would store the personal details of the applicants as well as his/her biometrics. It is proposed that the consumer card would be a laminated card, having a re-writable memory of 64 KB. The biometrics i.e 2 finger prints of 3 major family members and the photograph of the family are proposed to be stored on the card in image format. The details that would be stored on the card inter-alia are  Unique number of the ration card, names of the family members, permanent address, date of issue, date of validity, details of the FPS to which the card is linked, logo of the Chandigarh administration, name and signature of the issuing authority etc.  Apart from this the Card will store details of type of card, quota Allocated for withdrawal and balance quota available for withdrawal. The Computerization of the process of recording transactions pertaining to distribution of foodgrains to beneficiaries at FPS is proposed.

 

8.6            The FPS owner would be equipped with a handheld POS (Point of Sale) device which is integrated with a biometric and smart card reader. The Smart Card for FPS / Kerosene Depot  owner will store following details

 

1.     Ration Cards attached to the FPS/KD

2.     Blacklisted cardholders

3.     Biometric impressions of owner and Assistant

 

8.7            POS terminal will be single integrated device connected to the following:

1.     Twin smart card reader

2.     Biometric Reader

3.     Printer

4.     Battery Back-up

5.     Storage Capacity

6.     GPRS connectivity

7.     Voice Support

 

8.8            When a consumer approaches the FPS for obtaining the food stock, the smart card of the consumer is inserted into the POS device and a cross-verification of the particulars stored in the card with the central data base is performed by the device as and when connectivity is available. Connectivity is through a built-in dial up modem/GSM SIM card. When connectivity is not available it is proposed that the cross-verification is performed against the data stored in the card of the FPS dealer. 

 

8.9            It is proposed that the PoS device/terminal should be battery operated and should have enough memory to store transaction data of the FPS for a month. This is necessary because the transaction data is transferred/ uploaded from the PoS device/card of the FPS dealer to the central data base at the end of the month. As to whether both cards are required to be inserted into the PoS device simultaneously, even in a situation where connectivity is available, is not clear from the report.  For the proposed system to be effective, it must be ensured that data transfer takes in both directions, i.e. apart from the uploading of transaction details carried out in a particular period (in which connectivity with the central server is unavailable) from the FPS dealer’s card to the central server/database, a simultaneous downloading of transaction details (i.e. of a period during which owing to connectivity being available the transaction details are stored only on the central server as the FPS’s card is not required to be used) from the central database to the FPS dealers card must also take place so that both of these are updated with the transactions performed by the POS each month.

 

8.10       The DPR submitted to the Chandigarh administration deals only with the operations from the stage the stocks have reached to FPS and therefore does not seem to be as comprehensive as the DPR submitted to the Haryana government. Furthermore the Chandigarh DPR does not provide for a continuous online system.

 

 

 

8.11        

Issuance of Ration – Redesigned Process

 

                                                                       Eligibility Check 

 

 


  Resident Swipes his                     System Checks                                1. Residents submits his            

  Card into POS                              1. Card Tied to FPS/KD?                2. System authenticates

  Terminal                                       2. Card Blacklisted?                                   resident                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                       

                         Swipe                                                                                       Authentication

 

 

 

 


POS Linked electronic                                                           Ration Issuance

weighing scale                

                                 1. FPS KD owner

                                             ration

                                  2. Resident resubmits                       1. System checks if

                                    Fingerprint to confirm                     withdrawal quota available

                                   transaction                                        2. Residents enter amount

                                  3. System updates                                  to be  withdrawn                                                                                       

                                  Transaction to Ration card                                  

                                  POS Terminal and Central

                                     Database

 

                                                                    Completion

                                                                     Transaction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.12       It is relevant to mention that this Computerization model adopted by the UT does not ensure monitoring of the PDS at the fair price shop level through the computer network of the NIC installed in the District NIC centers, which is necessary under the PDS Control Order, 2001. It is suggested that the computerization model being adopted by UT Administration should cover every aspect of the PDS operations. This Committee has already submitted a report on Computerization of Public Distribution         System which may be referred to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 9

DISTRIBUTION OF FORTIFIED WHOLE MEAL ATTA

 

 

After year 2001, there was no lifting of APL wheat in Chandigarh. In March, 2009 the fortified atta scheme was started. Wheat quota after May 2009 was lifted regularly. Hundred percent wheat grain allocated under APL category is converted into fortified atta. Roller flour Mills lift wheat grain from FCI and supply atta to FPS at their door step

 

The Govt. of India is allocating 18,00 MTs of APL wheat to Chandigarh Administration which is being ground from the Roller Flour Mills and fortified whole meal atta is being issued to the APL card holders at the rate of Rs. 78.50 per bag of 10 Kg. The scale of issue is as under:-

 

1.    Ration card upto 2 units.             10 Kg. per card per month.

2.    Ration card upto 4 units.             20 Kg. per card per month.

3.    Above 4 units.                           30 Kg. per card per month.

 

Presently, there is only 440 quintal wheat allocation for BPL category which is not sufficient for the number of BPL beneficiaries at present,  at the scale of 35 kg  per family. Thus, presently a BPL beneficiary is getting 32 kgs (27+5). food grain instead of 35 kgs.

 

AAY beneficiary get, 35 kgs. rice, wheat is not distributed to them.

 

During its visit to various States the Committee found that distribution of ‘Atta’  instead of wheat in PDS is very popular in urban areas .Distribution of Atta has the advantage of checking diversion of wheat and if it is fortified it adds to much needed vitamins for the health of the individual.  Criticism for distribution of ‘Atta’ came basically from FPS owners.  It was based on the ground that shelf life of the Atta is only about 30 to 40 days.  Objection of FPS owners to distribute Atta instead of wheat is understandable because it hampers their activity of diverting wheat to open market.  Fortified Atta can certainly be useful for distribution under PDS instead of wheat. 

 

The    Committee suggests  the following  safeguards for distribution of ‘Atta’:

 

1.                 There should be a dedicated flour mill for grinding PDS wheat. In case that is not immediately possible, it should be ensured that the day on which the PDS wheat is ground no other wheat will be ground in that flour mill.

 

2.                 Quality of the flour manufactured has to be strictly monitored. Grinding should be perfect and flour should be of fine consistency;

 

3.                 There should be strict vigilance to ensure that no other wheat is mixed up with PDS wheat;

 

4.                 Grinding of PDS wheat should be in a flour mill where there is no human intervention except at the time of pouring the wheat grain in the machine and at the time of sealing the atta, in right quantity in the bags as it comes out. The process may include fortification of wheat with proper folic acid, iron and other nutrients.

 

5.                 There should be strict adherence to the time schedule to ensure that the atta is consumed within the prescribed period and its quality is maintained. It is necessary that the atta reaches the FPS within 5 days of its grinding. A period of 30 days must be given to the beneficiary for consumption of atta from the date he lifts the atta from the FPS as he is given ration for one month. Thus, atta must be distributed by the FPS to all the beneficiaries within 15 days of grinding. In case, some bags are left undelivered in the FPS after 30 days of grinding, steps should be to remove the undelivered bags from the FPS.

 

6.                 The date of grinding of the wheat and the date on the HDPE bag should be same and the bags should also contain all other relevant particulars like the expiry date, batch no., name of the mill, etc.

 

7.                 The provisions of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and Packaging and Measurement Act should be strictly observed. It is must be understood that any adulterator can cause great harm to the health of the public and the responsibility in the case will have to be fixed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 10

Recommendations

 

 

1.                 Ration cards for BPL and AAY categories are issued only for two years.  This creates lot of problems to the beneficiaries and is also a burden on the administrative machinery.  As per the PDS Control Order rations cards should be issued for a period of 5 years.  However, periodical review has been envisaged in the Control Order. UT Administration may issue necessary instructions in this regard as per the PDS (Control) Order, 2001.

 

2.                 The Committee was informed that  in DSO office Chandigarh Ration Card booklets were stolen by one FSO and issued to people on his own. Thus bogus cards were issued by him. Ration Card booklets should be numbered while printing the same and should be kept under proper care and custody. It should be issued number wise so that in case booklets went missing the same could be easily traced timely.

 

3.                 During the meetings a suggestion was received that packing of food grains should be done in tamper poof non pilferable small bags of 5kg or 10 kg,  if that is done chances of diversion with respect to quantity or quality can be reduced. It has been noticed by the Committee that pilferage takes place from the jute bags at every stage as it is very easy to poke a jute bag and take out the food grain. The Committee feels that supplying food grain in non pilfer-able/tamper proof bags of 5 kg and 10 kg can reduce the chances of pilferage to a great extent and would also help in ensuring supply of proper quality of food grain to the beneficiary. The Committee feels that the suggestion received by it during the visit that the PDS commodities should be supplied in 10 kg and 5 kg  tamper proof bags is worth considering.  This may ensure that proper quality and quantity of food grains are delivered to the consumers.  This would also make diversion of such commodities in the open market difficult.

 

4.                 Although there is an attempt at computerization which is necessary for transparent and efficient distribution of PDS Commodities, the Chandigarh Model proposed for Computerization requires further refining taking into account the need for backend and front-end synergy to ensure an integrated online system. This Committee has already submitted a detailed report on Computerization which may be referred to. Central Government have recently  constituted a Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).  The mandate of UIDAI  is to issue unique ID number to every resident  of the country.  It is stated that if PDS authorities, in their domain make  ration cards on the basis of UID number of the ration card holders and their family members as mandatory, they can clear up their data base of bogus ration cards.  UIDAI would re commend that all State Governments should start working and actively participate with the UIDAI so as to clean up their database and improve their delivery system. In answer to a question that about 1.5. crores bogus ration card holders were milking the PDS and could UID help such situations, Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI, replied “UID by itself will not solve the issue. The application of UID in a given context will solve it. If a state decides to have UID in all its ration cards, then somebody who has a ration card with the UID cannot come again on another ration card with another UID. So UID will ensure there are no duplicates. We are providing a capability to agencies to re-engineer their public service deliveries but the decision to re-engineer has to be theirs.”

 

5.                 Vigilance Committees at various levels be strengthened by including the NGOs, Self Help Group, Consumer Organisations and the educated youth in the Vigilance Committee at various levels. The meetings of the Vigilance Committees must be convened regularly.  The Secretary of the Department of Food & Supply should be responsible for convening the meeting of the Vigilance Committees.

 

6.                 Enforcement mechanism needs to be strengthened for smooth functioning of PDS in the UT. It is necessary that there should be a special squad for enforcement of PDS.  The squads should be responsible for conducting raids, surprise checks, conducting prosecutions, recommending Departmental action against the officials and taking action against the defaulting officer under the Essential Commodities Act 1955, Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Indian Penal Code.  PDS operation should be based on the principle of zero tolerance.  Any infraction of the Rules and Regulations or Instructions should invite strict action not only against the FPS owner but also the concerned officials.

 

7.                 A 24 hour helpline be set up where the beneficiary can lodge his complaint.  There should be system of follow up of complaint.  The concerned authority should look into the complaints received through the helpline and take appropriate action against the defaulting licencees and the officials concerned.  Helpline number should be stamped on the Ration cards and should also be displayed outside the Fair Price shops.

 

8.                 A stand alone FPS is not viable. It should be the condition of FPS licence that he runs a kirana/ grocery shop. He should be permitted to sell all items except non PDS rice and wheat. This way the FPS owner can earn profit and the shop will remain open through out the month. It is no secret that an FPS dealer can not honestly earn enough to sustain himself and his family. To avoid running into losses he indulges in black marketing. Study of the Committee shows that merely increasing the commission will not result in making the FPS a profitable or viable proposition. 

 

9.                 Lok Adalat may be held periodically (Once in 2 months or so ) for redressal of the grievances of the people concerning PDS on the spot.  This may ensure the redressal of the grievances of the people which in turn fulfill the aspirations of the people of responsive administration.

 

 

10.             The Committee feels that awareness is very important for proper functioning of PDS.  To create awareness among the people it must be ensured by the UT administration that a press release is issued at the beginning of the month indicating the quantity issued to be FPSs, entitlement of various categories of the beneficiaries, rates of the commodities to be charged by the FPS dealer and the details regarding the distribution through the mobile vans, so that people can know their rights and entitlements.

 

11.             To further enlighten the peoples of their rights and entitlements, pamphlets, posters must be published and widely circulated.   Local TV channels may also be requested to show all these above mentioned details on their scrolls to create awareness among the people.

 

12.             PDS (Control) Order, 2001 provides for the door step delivery of the food grains and other PDS items to the FPS dealer.  UT Administration should take immediate steps to ensure door step delivery to the FPS dealers.  Besides, the compliance of the PDS (Control) Order, 2001, it will help in improving the viability of the FPS dealer.  The Committee observed that the commission of FPS dealers is just Rs.4 per quintal which is not practically appropriate for honest working of the FPS dealers. 

 

13.             The mobile van system adopted in the UT be further strengthened to cover more areas for distribution of PDS items through the mobile vans.

 

 

14.             The Committee observed that computerization process being undertaken by the UT administration is not comprehensive.   It should cover every aspect of PDS operation.  Although there is good beginning for computerisation of PDS which is rather necessary for transparent and efficient distribution of PDS commodities.  The Chandigarh model proposed for computerization requires further refining taking into account the need of backend and front end, synergy to ensure an integrated online system.

 

15.             During the visit of the Committee the beneficiaries complained that they were not getting the full quantity of food grains.  Their entitlement is 35 kg of food grains for BPL families while they were getting 30 kg.  No Government order was provided to the Committee in this context.  The Planning Commission in its performance evaluation of Targetted Public Distribution System – 2005 has disapproved such practice and suggested that “the Government of India must insist that the entitlement of food grains for BPL household in its State should not be lower than that stipulated by GOI”.  In view of the above UT Administration may take immediate necessary action, so that the entitled categories get the full quota fixed by the Government.